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Compactor tips over embankment, injuring worker in rollover

Date of incident: April 2013
Notice of incident number: 2013150180100
Employer: Road construction company

Incident summary
A worker was operating a mobile vibratory soil compactor adjacent to the edge of a steep embankment when a portion of the vibrating drum went over the edge of the embankment. When the worker put the compactor in reverse in an attempt to bring the drum back onto the road surface, the drum began sliding down the embankment. The compactor tipped over onto the operator's cab and rolled over several times down the embankment. The worker suffered serious injuries.

Investigation conclusions
  • Compactor was operated with portion of drum extended over embankment: The worker was operating the compactor with a portion of the drum extended over the embankment. This created an unsafe condition where the drum could unexpectedly move laterally over the embankment. When the compactor drum slid over the edge of the embankment, the compactor rolled over several times before coming to a halt. The worker was seriously injured.
Underlying factors
  • Wrong piece of equipment for the task: The compactor was operated in an area that contained an open edge with grades measured at 52 percent. This is considered an area with a significant hazard of rollover. The employer chose to use a mobile compactor adjacent to the steep embankment, contrary to the manufacturer's instructions. There are safer alternatives where operators are not put at risk because they are not riding the equipment.
  • Inadequate supervision and instruction: The worker was instructed to operate the compactor with a portion of the drum extended beyond the road surface, adjacent to a steep embankment. These instructions contradicted the compactor manufacturer's operating instructions and were therefore inadequate to ensure the safe operation of the compactor.

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Publication Date: Apr 2013 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2013150180100